17:40 GMT +320 November 2019
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    Brexit May Drain Sweden's Prized Cider Export in Nasty Side Effect

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    Britain Says 'Cheerio' to EU (463)

    Amid the aftershocks of the referendum on the British EU exit, Sweden voiced unforeseen optimism about prospects of boosting trade and luring international companies that will leave the UK. However, Brexit may turn out to be a fatal blow for a number of Swedish industries, threatening, among other, the country's spirits exports.

    Many Britons share a special fondness for cider, and the British market represents 18 percent of Swedish cider exports, according to the Swedish Food Federation. However, Great Britain's upcoming withdrawal from the EU threatens the whole Swedish export market, which also includes fish, milk and chocolate as top export products to the UK.

    ​"In the worst-case scenario, we fail to reach a free trade agreement, whereupon the free movement of goods disappears," Marie Söderqvist, CEO at the Food Federation, told the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.

    According to her, only 20 percent of Sweden's total food production is being exported at present. The import of cider is an important income item in regards the UK in particular, due to the country's deep-rooted pub tradition.

    In 2015, Sweden's net food exports totaled about 70 billion kroner (roughly 8.5 billion dollars), the Food Federation wrote in a press release. Among others, Absolut vodka, beer and Swedish cider have been very successful in recent years. In 2015, Sweden exported alcoholic beverages for a total of 1.2 billion kroner (140,000 dollars) to the UK alone. Other appetizing Swedish bestsellers include fish, dairy products and chocolate. In 2015, Britain received 12 percent of Sweden's total fish export.

    Food companies fear that the changing conditions of trade between Sweden and the UK could have major financial consequences and noted that the weakening of the British pound has affected Swedish food producers already.

    Recently, Sweden's Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson said she sees good opportunities for companies to establish themselves in Sweden instead of in the UK, after the Brits decided to leave the European Union. She saw no problem with the Stockholm Stock Exchange plummeting by nearly six percent in Monday's opening trading.

    "It remains, of course, to see how this initial reaction will unfold in the coming days and weeks," Magdalena Andersson told Swedish Radio.

    Earlier, Stockholm Chamber of Commerce warned about devastating consequences of Brexit, as a number of Swedish provinces have Britain as major trading partner. According to chief economist Andreas Hatzigeorgiou, Brexit would unavoidably cost jobs and result in a lack of growth.

    According to the Swedish Board of Trade, over 66,000 people in Sweden are engaged in export to the UK, most of them in the service sector and in various subcontractor companies, the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter reported.

    Britain Says 'Cheerio' to EU (463)


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